News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
The World Series of Poker Circuit events are off to a good start at Caesars and may even be proving that other casino properties can compete with the Borgata at the poker table.
The first event of the circuit was held March 1 — a $300 + $45 No Limit tournament that attracted 667 players and posted a prize pool of $194,097. That’s on par with last year’s opener and while not as impressive as some stops on the circuit, for a Thursday in early March, it was a decent field.
Michael McGuinness, of Toms River, won the event. McGuinness has a few cashes on his record over the last 10 years or so (including an about $20K cash at the Harrah’s Resort circuit events in December 2010), but this $39,790 win is by far his best to date.
Most notable about the win — aside from the fact that McGuinness fought his way back from being short-stacked at the final table — was that McGuinness played a quiet man’s game at a boisterous final table that saw a lot of conversation, jokes, and reportedly, more than a little drinking.
But McGuinness, a 43-year-old retired police officer, kept his head down, plowed through the field and ended up with just under $40K. There’s probably a lesson there.
Event two of the circuit events put up an even more impressive start. Again a $300 + $45 No Limit tournament, but with a better Friday start date, the event drew 887 players, which may turn out to be the biggest field of the entire circuit events.
The winner was Sarah Dygert, a 23-year-old software developer from Alfred, N.Y., who wins $50,333.
It’s always great to see a female player break through and Dygert did it in dominant fashion, holding a chip lead through the final tables and finishing on top after a 16-hour session.
Still, Dygert didn’t come from nowhere. Though only a “part-time” player, she had a pretty successful online career and has better than $100,000 in live tournament winnings.
So all in all, that was a nice start to the circuit events.
Then came Sunday.
The circuit events presented a $500 + $55 event that attracted about 253 players. For that kind of a buy-in, that’s not bad.
At the same time, the Borgata presented a $1,500 + $150, $500,000 guaranteed Deepstack tournament. That’s a big buy-in and it drew 308 players. But that didn’t cover the casino’s guarantee, and the Borgata had to kick in close to $40K.
The numbers weren’t exactly off for Borgata — in fact, a Deepstack they offered last March matched the turnout exactly — but you have to figure the Borgata likes to cover its guarantees without having to kick in cash.
So did the circuit make a difference? Was the chilly late-winter weather a factor? Did Borgata simply set the guarantee too high (many of their Deepstack events are guaranteed for $300K)?
Who can say? But we do know one thing. There was plenty of action to choose from for your typical A.C. grinder last weekend.
This weekend is no different as the WSOP Circuit offers up a $1,000 + $80 No Limit tournament on Friday (March 9) and starts its $1,500 + $100 championship event on Saturday (March 10). The championship event has two opening sessions at 11am and 7pm under the double play system (those busting out in the first session can re-buy in the second session).
In some other news, Atlantic City’s bad-beat jackpots continue to pay out some big bucks.
The Harrah’s combined bad-beat jackpot hit Saturday (March 3) morning for $281,037. That’s less than a month since it last hit for $291,000.